Monday, October 11, 2021

October 11 Radio History

In 1919...Actress/voice actor Jean Vander Pyl was born in Philadelphia.  Her two main broadcast roles were as the wife Margaret in NBC Radio’s Father Knows Best, and as the voice of Wilma Flintstone in several cartoon series on TV.  She also provided the voice of Rosie the robot maid from the animated series The Jetsons,

She succumbed to lung cancer April 10 1999 at age 79

In 1936...the first radio quiz show premiered, "Professor Quiz".

In New York City, Glenn Miller recorded “Make Believe Ballroom Time” for RCA Victor’s Bluebird label, featuring the vocal group The Modernaires for the first time. It would become the theme song for Make Believe Ballroom on WNEW, New York, with host Martin Block.

Martin Block
Block created the aura of doing a “live” radio program, complete with performers (on records) like Harry James or Frank Sinatra, from the “Crystal Studios” at WNEW. Copycat versions of the ‘Ballroom’ featured Keith Sandy at CKEY in Toronto, and Al Jarvis at KHJ Los Angeles.

In 1935, while listeners to New York's WNEW-AM in New York (now information outlet WBBR) were awaiting developments in the Lindbergh kidnapping, Block built his audience by playing records between the Lindbergh news bulletins. This led to his Make Believe Ballroom, which began February 3, 1935 creating the illusion that he was broadcasting from a ballroom with the nation’s top dance bands performing live. He bought some records from a local music shop for the program as the radio station had none. Block purchased five Clyde McCoy records, selecting his "Sugar Blues" for the radio show's initial theme song.

Because Block was told by the station's sales staff that nobody would sponsor a radio show playing music, he had to find himself a sponsor. Block lined up a producer of reducing pills called "Retardo"; within a week, the sponsor had over 3,000 responses to the ads on Block's radio show. Martin Block's style of announcing was considerably different than the usual manner of delivery at the time. Instead of speaking in a voice loud enough to be heard in a theater, Block spoke in a normal voice, as if he was having a one-on-one conversation with a listener.

In 1948...One of radio’s last premiering soap operas, “The Brighter Day”, took to the air for the first time on NBC. It’s interesting to take a look at the cast and see which names are still recognizable, like Hal Holbrook and William Redfield.  After six years on radio “Day” moved to TV.

In 1976...“Disco Duck (Part 1),” by Rick Dees & His Cast of Idiots was the Number One songs on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart. At the time he was a morning DJ at Memphis radio station WMPS.

Sebastian Stone

In 1987...New York radio personality Sebastian Stone died.  During other stints in other markets, he was known as Johnny Holiday at KCBQ/San Diego in 1959, as Johnny Mitchell at KHJ in 1965 and Sebastian Stone at KFRC/San Francisco in 1967.  One of his goofy stunts early in his career was setting a world record of 195 "stay-awake" hours while on WYDE-Birmingham. In Billboard's 1966 polling of djs, Johnny was one of the leading early evening Top 40 personalities.

Richard Denning and Lucille Ball

In 1998...Actor Richard Denning died at age 84. On radio, Denning starred with Lucille Ball in CBS's My Favorite Husband, which led to a role on CBS television's series adaptation of Mr. and Mrs. North.

➦In 2008...Actor & sportscaster Gil Stratton Jr. died at age 86.

Gil Stratton
In addition to acting in several films, Stratton began working as a radio actor in the late 1940s, performing in such shows as Lux Radio Theater, The Great Gildersleeve, and My Little Margie He worked opposite Judy Garland in the 1950 radio adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, and acted opposite Shirley Temple in a radio version of The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer.

Stratton was hired by Los Angeles television station KNXT-TV (now CBS-2) in 1954 as a sportscaster and sports news anchor. He spent sixteen years as sports anchor of the show The Big News during the 1960s and 1970s.   He also served as a sportscaster for California CBS AM radio station, KNX 1070, from 1967 to 1984 and from 1986 to 1997 and for KTTV for a time in the 70's and 80's.

Stratton won five local Emmys during his television career, and was also awarded seven Golden Mike awards from the Radio-Television News Association.

Paulette Carlson is 70


  • Country singer Gene Watson is 78. 
  • Singer Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates is 75. 
  • Actor Catlin Adams (“The Jerk,” ″The Jazz Singer”) is 71. 
  • Saxophonist Andrew Woolfolk (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 71. 
  • Country singer Paulette Carlson (Highway 101) is 70. 
  • MTV VJ Mark Goodman is 69. 
  • Actor David Morse (“St. Elsewhere”) is 68. 
  • Actor Stephen Spinella (“24″) is 65. 
  • Actor Joan Cusak is 59. 
  • Guitarist Scott Johnson of Gin Blossoms is 59. 
  • Actor-writer Michael J. Nelson (“Mystery Science Theater 3000”) is 57. 
  • Daryl Hall is 75
    Actor Sean Patrick Flanery is 56. 
  • Actor Lennie James (“The Walking Dead”) is 56. 
  • Actor Artie Lange (“MADtv”) is 54. 
  • Actor Jane Krakowski (“30 Rock,” ″Ally McBeal”) is 53. 
  • Actor Andrea Navedo (“Jane the Virgin”) is 52. 
  • Actor Constance Zimmer (“UnREAL,” ″Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) is 51. 
  • Rapper MC Lyte is 51. 
  • Actor Darien Sills-Evans (“Superior Donuts,” “Treme”) is 47. 
  • Singer NeeNa Lee is 46. 
  • Actor Emily Deschanel (“Bones”) is 45. 
  • Actor Trevor Donovan (“90210″) is 43. 
  • Actor Michelle Trachtenberg (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” ″Inspector Gadget”) is 36. 
  • Rapper Cardi B is 29.

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